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Power and P22 billion worth of siopao
By Elson T. Elizaga, October 2, 2018.

This is the last time I’m giving my opinion on the case of senator Antonio Trillanes IV. Di na gyud ko muosab. Kausa na lang. (I will not do it again. Just once.)

Their president Rodrigo Duterte lost a huge opportunity to surpass his predecessor Benigno Aquino III.

Duterte’s supporters said Aquino made a technical mistake with the amnesty he had granted to Trillanes and his colleagues.

There was no mistake, but if Duterte’s allies think so, they should have advised him to right this blunder by giving Trillanes a correct amnesty. Then by comparison Aquino would appear clumsy and inferior. Then Duterte would be hailed by his supporters and critics as a man of noble wisdom. Then the fundamentalists like Manny Pacquiao would compare him to Solomon, and the psy-war wanna-bes would call him a true disciple of Sun Tzu.

Duterte can even reissue amnesty to other individuals and groups like Nicanor Faeldon, Ariel Querubin, Danilo Lim, Gary Alejano, and Gregorio Honasan II. He can do the same to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the Communist Party of the Philippines, the National Democratic Front, the New People’s Army, the Post-World War II Filipino guerrillas, and perhaps the descendants of Ferdinand Magellan.

It might also be wise to release senator Leila de Lima. There is no criminal evidence against her. Consider returning to sender the body of Ferdinand Marcos, stop the killings, and then have a meeting with the entire cabinet to find solutions to the rising price of rice and bolinao.

Power is not about how many people one has put under control. In “Schindler’s List” is an unforgettable conversation:

Oskar Schindler: Power is when we have every justification to kill, and we don’t.

Amon Goeth: You think that’s power?

Oskar Schindler: That’s what the Emperor said. A man steals something, he’s brought in before the Emperor, he throws himself down on the ground. He begs for his life, he knows he’s going to die. And the Emperor … pardons him. This worthless man, he lets him go.

Amon Goeth: I think you are drunk.

Oskar Schindler: That’s power, Amon. That is power.

My son Jon Finn is not an honor student anymore but he loves math so I told him to find the circumference of the Earth. Then I asked him to find out how many siopao, each 9.5 centimeters across, would it take to circle the planet. “According to my calculation, dadi, it’s 421,842,105 siopao,” he said. “And how much money would buy all of that siopao if each siopao is 30 pesos?” I asked.  His answer was 12,655,263,150 pesos.

This means if we have 6.4 billion pesos, we can buy siopao that, put end to end, would travel halfway around the Earth. But if we have 22 billion pesos, which is the price of four shipments of shabu, the siopao would circumnavigate twice. If we scatter them in orbit they might behave like the rings of Saturn, unreachable to the poor, but a truly amazing spectacle. End


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